Adding map locations for activities, wildlife sightings etc.
One of the key aims of the trial is to test how best to link information to a particular location. This could be a site where you have done some revegetation work, observed a particular bird species or sprayed for weeds.
In the example below, the user wants to add a new revegetation site to a folder named “Tree planting/revegetation sites”. To do this, the following steps are required:
- Click on the folder name to enter it
- Select “Add new” from the menu at the far left
- Then select “Map location”
On the page that appears, you will be able to add some details about your data, including a title, description, body text, date, image and file. A title is required, but the others are optional (note that large images may take a long time to upload with a slow internet connection).
You can then add a location for your site using Google Maps. You can find your location by typing in an address (as shown below). Alternatively, you can enter coordinates if you know these (e.g. for 33.12°S, 150.01°E type “-33.12, 150.01”). You can also find a location by using the zoom in and out buttons and clicking on any point on the map.
You also have the option of giving your marker a distinctive colour and letter (e.g. blue with an “A” in the example below). This is useful if your group if likely to have multiple different types of data on your group map, such as:
- bird observation sites (e.g. blue “B”)
- soil monitoring sites (e.g. brown “S”)
- weed treatment sites (e.g. red “W”)
- revegetation sites (which could have a dark green “R” if completed and light green “R” if planned)
As a group, you will need to decide which colours and letters you will use for different activities and apply these consistently. The group administrator (e.g. Landcare coordinator) will be able to edit map items to ensure consistency and move map items into folders to keep the site organised.
In addition to adding points to the map, you can also mark out an area (e.g. a paddock that has been sprayed or planted with trees). To do this, scroll down to the map at the bottom of the screen, search for the location you want (by address or coordinates) and click on the map to form a shape. To complete the area you need to end by clicking back on the first point you created.
Once you have created and saved your location, it will appear in the list of locations for that folder. You can view any of these location entries by clicking on the folder name and then using either the list on the right-hand side of the screen or the list that appears in main part of the screen (see below). Once you click on the location entry, you will be able to view details such as description, date and image, as well as the map locations in point or area form. You can also edit the item by clicking “edit” on the menu at the far-left of the page (marked with a pencil icon).
It is also possible to add map locations for projects that you create in your group space. This can be done by clicking on “Add” next to projects and then clicking on the “Mapping” tab (as shown below).
Changing sharing settings for map locations
As described in the Sharing settings page of this user guide, you can change the sharing settings for any locations you have added by clicking on the item name and then going to the drop-down menu at the right-hand side of the green bar that appears at the top of the page.
Each group space on the Landcare Gateway has a group map that displays all of the locations that group members have added and shared. This group map is visible by going to the “front page” of the group space. You can get to this front page by clicking on the group name at the top of any page in the group space (e.g. Capertee Valley Regent Honeyeater Recovery Group is the group name in the example below).
The map locations displayed on the group map are dependent on the sharing settings chosen by the group members who have added the locations. For example, if a group member adds a location and selects “Private” then it will only be visible to that group member. If they select “Group only” then it will be visible to all members of the group but not to members of the general public. If they select “Publish” then it will be visible to anyone who visits the Landcare Gateway, even if they don’t have a login.
Changing sharing settings can be a useful way of “switching” map features on and off on the group map. For example, if you only want to show revegetation sites and not weed management sites, you can set all revegetation sites to public and all weed management sites to group only, then log out and view the group map (only the revegetation sites should appear). This option could be used to show someone external to the group (e.g. a funding body you are applying to for a grant) the work you have been doing on a particular project.
Importing and exporting map layers
Most members are likely to interact with the mapping features of the Gateway by adding single locations one at a time. However, it is also possible to add multiple data points at once as a KML file (the format used by Google Earth and Google Maps). This feature will typically be used by group administrators only and may be useful for plotting a range of background data from another source. For example, you could download all sightings of a threatened species (e.g. glider) from the Atlas of Living Australia and add this as a KML file so that you can use that information when planning sites for glider nest boxes.
Adding a KML file is just as easy as adding a map location (it appears in the same drop-down menu as shown at the top of this page). Once added, the locations in the KML file can be viewed on the group map and information can be displayed by clicking on a map marker. However, this information cannot be edited or added to within the Landcare Gateway and the KML layer will appear as a single item in a folder, not multiple items for each feature (e.g. each glider sighting in the KML layer). This function is designed to help inform decisions of the group.
In the image above, there are options (below the map) to download CSV or download group KML.
Downloading group data in CSV format allows you to interact with it in a spreadsheet (e.g. in Microsoft Excel).
Downloading in KML format allows you to display the data in Google Earth and other mapping programs.
Note that the files you download will only include the data that you have been given access to. For example, if another user has uploaded data and set it to “Private”, you will not have access to it in your downloaded file. Similarly, if you are not logged in to the Gateway, you will only be able to download map data that has been set to “Public” view.